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About Jdonley75

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  1. Jdonley75


    I think you will find that things will be moving well once you read more as far as Kyle's efforts to revive his career. Thank you for reading.
  2. Jdonley75

    Chapter 32

    Exactly. Tyler was kind of like a non-threatening presence.
  3. Jdonley75

    Happy Anniversary

    Stacy more or less exited Tanner's life when he was around 6 or 7 years old. He's a lot older now. 9 or 10 if I remember right. The hardest part about all of this is how difficult it can get to keep up with the children. Jacob going from 30 to 35 is no big deal for the most part. Emotionally and physically, he doesn't really change all that much. Taking a child from age 5 to age 10 is a bigger deal. More so from birth to 5. I'm pretty sure Jacob will do the right thing and help Tanner however he can.
  4. Jdonley75

    Happy Anniversary

    There is one more book after this one and then that will be the definative end of their journey. Yes, I could go on and on about them but the fact is, their lives are going to eventually become as normal as most people. Yes, they will have the occasional ups and downs just like everyone does in live. There will be things to celebrate and things to suffer through. But, for the most part, once the fourth and final book is done, I see nothing but a "happily ever after" for them all. But before that things will happen. Loose threads that have been left hanging (even from the first book) will eventually be resolved one way or another. I'm not giving anything away by telling you that I know what the final scene looks like. I've heard the words and seen the moment in my mind. It won't be easy to do and it may not be to everyone's taste, but it will be how their story ends before they fade away. They have been through many things in their lives. Both good and bad. I feel it's only right that at some point they get to have normal, unassuming lives until they could end up being people you would pass on the street without a second thought. I love all of my characters. I want to do right by them.
  5. Jdonley75

    Happy Anniversary

    I think it's because I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the conversation with a paragraph about where all David and Colt has been up to this point. The story isn't about them and I didn't want to inject them into it. So, I just figured I would go with the dialogue. I thought it would be easy enough to follow the flow of the conversation, but I must have screwed up somewhere. David just got a passport They are going to Italy in two weeks The trip to Italy will be their fourth trip together.
  6. Jdonley75

    Happy Anniversary

    While Jacob and Brian share a unique bond, I feel the same could be said for Kyle and Andy. The really special thing about it all is that there's no real jealousy between them. Obviously, Jacob and Brian don't think about what things may have been like if they had stayed together. If anything, they've openly said it was a mistake and didn't last. But I think it did create a unique bond that no one else has with them. I remember a line from Chapter 13 of the Acquittal where there was a hint of how their relationship had evolved over time. Jacob grabbed his wrist to stop him, forcing Brian to look at him. “Hey.” He stood up to face him. When Brian looked away he put his other hand gently to his face and turned him until their eyes met. “It’s me. What’re you upset about?” I hindsight, I should've chopped off that last bit and just kept Jacob's line as, "hey, it's me." I guess my goal there was to show how close the two of them became over those missing years. And that all either of them has to do to get the other to open up about a problem is to give them that reminder. I was prepared to write an entire story about Stacy's death and its effects on all of them but every time I tried, it just wasn't worth mentioning because there wasn't a good story there no matter what kinds of bells and whistles I tried to add onto it. Dropping tidbit into the mix was a way of getting the information out there without having to dedicate an entire story on her. I would daresay Troy's "Leader" role is in question. I could see him being the man in charge when they were kids, but they've all grown in unique ways. Not saying that he's still not capable of being the man with the plan. Just saying that I feel he's been more or less playing second-in-command to someone else's authority and I think he will always play that role to whomever fills that top spot. I don't envision Colt and David ever proposing to one another. Unless there's a really good reason for it that they (and I) haven't come up with yet I'm pretty sure they are just fine with how their lives are right now. I think for the most part, they're two guys out enjoying their lives.
  7. Jdonley75

    Happy Anniversary

    Hm. I guess I should have written that to be a little more precise. David and Colt haven't gone to Italy three times. They've gone on trips (presumably around the country) three times and now (with the addition of the passport) are setting their sights on new horizons.
  8. Jdonley75

    Happy Anniversary

    Jacob walked down the sidewalk, trying to pretend he wasn’t annoyed about how long a walk it was between the parking deck and his destination. He reasoned that it wasn’t the walk itself that annoyed him, rather it was the fact he was wearing dress shoes, slacks and a shirt and tie instead of his usual attire. It wasn’t that he minded getting dressed up for an occasion. It was just never something he was all that comfortable with. Yet here he was, in the middle of Pittsburgh, only blocks away from the university and he was walking down Third Avenue looking more like Kyle than himself. Thinking about Kyle only served to sour his mood a little more. The last few days seemed to have been a quiet fight between them. A passive aggressive comment here and there followed by half hour explanations most of them ending in stalemates. It wasn’t something that he worried too much about, but it was still annoying. His feet started to ache slightly just as he came to the building that was his destination. A tall steel and glass tower that housed a number of businesses, including the restaurant he was supposed to meet his “date” at the appointed time. He took a quick glance at the time on his watch, pleased that he was on time just as he walked in. The young man at the door smiled as he walked in and he smiled back as he stepped up to the podium. “Hi, I’m here to meet someone. I think he already arrived.” “Yes, sir,” the man replied. “What was the name?” “Brian Whitman.” The host looked at the chart in front of him and smiled as he returned his gaze to Jacob. “Ah. Mr. Eaton. Right this way.” Jacob’s smile didn’t waver, but he groaned inwardly. No doubt that was Brian’s idea of a joke at his expense. When he saw Brian’s impish grin as he stood up to greet him, Jacob rewarded him with smirk and narrowed eyes. Brian, undeterred, hugged him warmly as he greeted him. “Handsome as ever, I see.” “Yeah, like you didn’t just see me a few days ago,” Jacob shot back as they hugged before taking their seats. “Well, that was a few days ago,” Brian replied as they both grabbed their menus to look over. “Did you tell Andy what you were doing?” Brian smirked a little as he continued to read. “Sort of.” Jacob could only chuckle silently at the all too innocent answer. “What did you tell him?” “That I was meeting with an old friend of mine from when I used to work here. Just having dinner and drinks.” He looked up at Jacob with a smile that didn’t hide how pleased he was with himself over his wordplay. “What did you tell Kyle?” Jacob’s cheeks flushed slightly as he stared intently at his menu. “Not much. Just that I was going out to eat tonight and that I’d be back later.” Brian’s face lost its smile. “He didn’t ask questions?” “Not after all the other things we’d talked about the rest of the day.” Brian took on a dubious look as he leaned a little closer across the table, almost unable to believe what he just heard. “Are you two… fighting?” “We’re not fighting.” He sighed and frowned at his menu. “We’re just having a disagreement.” Their conversation was interrupted by the waiter walking up to their table. With a formal voice, he smiled at the two of them and asked, “are we ready to order sirs?” Brian took one last look at the menu before answering. “I think we will split some spicy shrimp as an appetizer. And I will have the vegetable Linguini.” The waiter scribbled down the order. “And to drink, sir?” Brian’s looked across the table to Jacob and replied, “I think a glass of the house white wine will be fine, thank you.” “Good choice,” the waiter said before turning his attention to Jacob. “And for you sir?” Jacob looked back at Brian and smirked slightly. “I’ll have the lamb chops.” “Excellent choice. And to drink?” Jacob’s smirk broadened slightly, his eyes not leaving Brian’s as he replied. “Just water, thank you.” The waiter nodded as he finished writing down the order. “Thank you, sir.” He took their menus and added, “I should have those shrimp in a few minutes.” Brian smiled proudly at Jacob. After the waiter left, he asked Jacob, “how do you feel?” Jacob sat silently for a moment as his eyes went to the glass of water in front of him. He picked it up and took a sip. “I’m good. Never better.” “That’s good to hear,” Brian replied. “But that’s not what I asked you. How do you feel?” Jacob smirked as he chuckled silently before answering. “I feel… I guess the best word for it is, ‘whole.’” Brian nodded slowly as he listened. “So, we’ve gone from scared, to sad, hopeful, accomplished and now to whole.” He ticked the words off on his fingers before taking a drink of his own water and sat back in his chair. “I’d say that’s a pretty good improvement.” Jacob’s cheeks flushed slightly. “Thank you.” Brian shook his head. “Don’t thank me, dear. It was all you.” Jacob shot him a knowing look. “We both know that’s not true. I…” His hand moved to the glass in front of him as he stared at it. “I probably wouldn’t be here if it you hadn’t stopped me.” Brian laughed softly. “You never give yourself enough credit. All I did was show you the truth. Keep drinking and likely die or get help and live.” “And who got me that help?” Brian shrugged. “Okay. Maybe I helped out a little.” The waiter returned to the table with the shrimp and Brian’s wine. After he left, the two friends shared the appetizer and they chatted. “So, what’s new?” Jacob smirked as he swallowed the shrimp in his mouth. “Well, we learned this week that if you are a veteran who was honorably discharged, the State Department will expedite your passport application.” Brian gave him a quizzical look, wonder why Jacob would blurt out some odd piece of trivia. When Jacob met his gaze, it hit him. “You’re kidding!” Jacob nodded as he took another shrimp. “They’re going to Italy in two weeks.” Brian giggled at the idea of David in Italy. “What’s that, their fourth trip?” Jacob nodded. “Dad is definitely retired. Whether he wants to admit it or not.” “So, how’s that affecting everything at home?” Jacob pondered how to answer the question before he spoke. “Well, I guess it’s a lot more work for me and Kyle. We have to kind of juggle our jobs a little more. He works at home most of the time and we’re figuring out how to make sure one of us is home all the time. Normally it’s him, but we know that’s not gonna last once he starts spending more time at the courthouse. So, we’re managing it slowly.” Brian smiled being pleased by the news. “Well, I’m glad David seems to be having fun with Colt. What are you guys going to do about the orchard?” “We’re trying to figure that out,” he replied. “We’ve been debating about hiring some people.” “People? Plural?” Jacob got a displeased look and added, “that’s part of our, ‘disagreement.’” Brian rolled his eyes slightly. “So, what started it?” Jacob got a thoughtful look in his eyes even as he smirked slightly. “I guess, technically, it started a couple weeks ago when I was driving home from seeing Troy at work. It wasn’t something I planned, it just happened. An idea came to me and I liked it, so I did some background work on it, talked to a bank…” He saw Brian’s eyebrows raise alarmingly and tried to hurry through the rest. “Hold on. I gave it some thought and then I decided to talk to him about it.” He took a drink of his water before reaching for another shrimp. “He didn’t take it as well as I thought he would.” “Did you make a big decision without him?!” “No,” Jacob replied almost appalled. “I wouldn’t go that far.” “So, what is it you did exactly?” Jacob rolled his eyes. “It’s not what I did. It’s what I want to do.” Brian sighed and crossed his arms. “Out with it. What did you do?” Jacob leaned closer as he explained. “Well, I want to expand my business. To do that, I need a bigger building and a few employees. And… I saw a place. Well, not a place so much as a spot.” Brian’s eyes narrowed. “Get to the point.” Jacob sighed and pulled his phone out of his pocket. “I saw it, and the idea came to me and I thought it was a good idea. Kyle… not so much.” He pulled something up on his phone and passed it over to Brian. With a dubious look shot across the table, he slowly picked up the phone to look at what Jacob was talking about. It was a picture, but he was unsure what it was he was looking at. He could see part of the street Jacob had been on when the picture was taken. But beyond that, there wasn’t anything of merit. Just a wide open empty space. It was a very open space that seemed to have been used for something, but he couldn’t tell what. There was dirt and gravel with seemingly no pattern. Around it, he could see a few buildings. They seemed familiar but it wasn’t a part of town he seemed to frequent. The longer he stared at it the more some things started to look very familiar. One of the places in the background seemed like somewhere he should know. Like he was looking at something he sees all the time but from a different direction. That was when it started to become clear what he had been looking at and his eyes widened as concern for Jacob and the incredulousness of his idea came to light. “Jacob Michael are you insane?!” Jacob grinned slightly. “That’s exactly what Kyle said.” Brian handed the phone back as he pressed on. “Of all the places you could chose…!” “It’s not as bad as it sounds,” he tried to assure his friend. Brian wasn’t buying his nonchalant attitude. “You want to build a place and set up shop on the same spot you used to live with your dad?! That sounds pretty fucking bad to me.” Jacob sighed. “It’s alright.” “Yeah?” “Yeah.” Brian stared at him as he took his wine glass and took a sip. “When was the last time you were there?” There was a pause as Jacob thought it over. “A couple years ago. Before Kyle came back. I took Tyler home after his traffic accident.” With an arched eyebrow he asked, “and you were okay then?” Jacob frowned slightly. “Not exactly. But that was years ago. I’m fine now.” Brian looked at him intently as he chewed on a shrimp. The idea that Jacob would be working in the same spot his father beat him to within an inch of his life was not a pleasant thought. His first instinct was to side with Kyle and talk him out of this. But looking across the table he saw Jacob’s clear eyes and no hint of any discomfort about the idea. He grudgingly admitted to himself that Jacob was definitely not the same person he was five years ago. He had changed a lot and gone through more than most. And here he was, talking about his future and not once has Brian noticed his eyes go to the wine glass. “What if that happens though? What if you go through with this and you end up having an emotional moment when you… you think about what happened to you?” Jacob smiled softly and replied, “it won’t happen because I will be making new memories that will crowd out the old ones. Besides, I barely think about him anymore. He’s not my family. You are. And Kyle and Matt and Aaron.” Brian was still skeptical, but he could tell by looking into his eyes that Jacob meant what he said. “Well, my advice would be to tell Kyle you should wait until David is back from Italy before you decide on anything.” “We’ll be okay,” Jacob assured him. He paused as the waiter arrived with their meals. The smells were amazing, and they quickly thanked him before they began to eat. “You know,” Jacob said in between bites, “I think the best thing that’s happened in the last year was Kyle starting to work again.” “Oh?” Brian took a drink from his wine before forking another bite of his linguine. “I would think that would make less time for the two of you.” “It does, but not that much,” Jacob conceded. “The good part about it though is how it’s changed him.” “How has he changed?” Brian could see some frustration on his face as Jacob struggled to describe it. “It’s like… one of my happiest times with him was actually those three months he and I were together while he was still in Harrisburg. I know that sounds silly, but I got to see him doing his job that he’d spent so much time and effort into being and he was so… in control.” He took another bite of his lamb before continuing. “There was no hint of his anxiety then. He was confident, commanding and he was so compelling to watch in the courtroom. I went a couple times to watch and I have to admit, I kind of found myself loving him even more.” Brian nodded in understanding. “And you think when he came back home, with no real plan other than to get married, he kind of lost some of that?” “I wouldn’t go that far,” Jacob replied. “It’s just that… he wasn’t quite himself sometimes. I think his anxieties started creeping up again more and more over time. We’re really lucky he found that first client. That really helped him regain some confidence and now he’s got a couple people he’s working for now.” “I feel bad we never really knew how bad his anxiety problems were back in high school.” He shrugged. “But we were kids. What did we know about that kind of stuff?” Jacob nodded. “Yeah. Hey, speaking of high school, how’s teaching going?” “It’s not bad,” he replied. “Not much different from when we took history. The kids are smaller. I have some good ones and bad ones. Most are average. For the most part I enjoy it, though I do wish I could have some A.P. classes so I could really get into the nuts and bolts of the things we talk about.” He smiled as he took another bite. “I love coming home, though.” Jacob smiled softly as he thought back to history class. The day Kyle first noticed him. The day his life changed. Conjuring the image in his mind, he felt a warmth grow inside him as the memory of that day led to more memories and more. How clumsy he was when trying to talk to him. How scared he was. How many times did he spend warm summer evenings in the orchard with Kyle and have to keep himself from giving into the urge to touch him and hold him? How many moments did they miss out on when they were both too afraid to say what they felt? And how lucky was he now that after so many self-inflicted wounds, he gets to go home to his love, his best friend and their two beautiful boys? “Hello? Earth to Jacob.” Brian watched Jacob’s eyes as they drifted through memories before they came to rest on the glass of wine in Brian’s hand. He could see Jacob look at the liquid in the glass for a moment before his smile widened. With steady hands Jacob carved another piece of his lamb chops and Brian inwardly breathed a small sigh of relief. “Are you alright?” Jacob met his eyes with a cheerful smile. “Never better.” Brian watched him for a moment while he ate, just to be sure. “God, you’re weird.” Jacob grinned. “I think this is better with fresh mint.” They exchanged a few bites of their meals and enjoyed a quiet but intimate moment between them. While Jacob loved all his friends, it was Brian who he felt closest to. And their anniversary was the main reason for that. “I hope Andy and the kids are doing okay. I see Blake a lot when I pick up Matt from school.” “Andy’s fine,” Brian said. “Though, to be honest, I think he’s a little restless. You know, he took the job with Troy and Sam mainly because he just needed something quick to start bringing in money for the boys and…” Brian’s face soured slightly. “…her.” Jacob stifled a laugh. “Well, that’s one thing he won’t have to worry about ever again.” “Yeah,” Brian said with relief in his voice. “I know I should feel bad that she died, but the fact that it happened because she was stupid enough to drive drunk makes me feel a little less sympathetic to her loss.” Jacob shrugged. “She’s gone. Best to just never bring her up again.” He took a drink of his water and continued, “I hated her. Which is saying something because I’ve tried very hard not to hate anyone. But I’m not sorry she’s gone. The thing that confuses me is how bad Tanner took the news.” “I know,” he agreed. “He was really quiet for awhile. I tried to talk to him, but he didn’t seem to want to say much of anything. He’s gotten better though. We just don’t talk about it. Which suits me and Andy just fine.” Jacob pondered it quietly as he took another bite of his meal. “Maybe I’ll spend some time with him.” “That would be nice,” Brian agreed. “He does seem closer to you than Kyle or Troy.” “Well, he spent a lot of time growing up at the house,” Jacob reasoned. “Maybe the two of you could spend a day together or something,” he suggested with a smile. “Hey, that’s a great idea. Blake can play with Matt and you and Tanner can go somewhere together.” Jacob smiled. “If it’ll cheer him up, I’m fine with it.” “Well, that’ll be a load off Andy’s mind then.” Brian paused as he stirred the linguine with his fork. “I think for the most part we’re over the hump with Andy. I’ve been paying attention more now that I know what to look for. He’s more like he used to be, before the war. He hasn’t mentioned Brandon in over a year now. But I can tell he thinks about him once in awhile.” “Does that bother you?” Brian grimaced, feeling his cheeks flush and giving him away. “A little. It’s kind of weird. Feeling jealous over someone who’s… not around.” Before Jacob could say anything Brian quickly interjected, “oh, I know he loves me. I’ve no doubt about that. But I can’t help but wonder sometimes what might’ve happened if things had happened differently.” “You and me both,” Jacob muttered. “And I know it’s not easy to ignore. You just have to live in the here and now. Brandon’s gone. Maybe things might have been different, maybe not. But it really doesn’t matter because this is the reality you live in.” Brian smiled. “Thank you. I’ll try and remember that.” “Trust me, Bri,” Jacob said with more conviction, “there is no one in the world he loves more than you. Always has and always will.” Brian’s smile turned into a smirk as he cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah, well, right back at you.” They took the last bites off their plates before the waiter showed up. “Would you care for some dessert?” The two friends shared a look between them before Brian answered. “Two pieces of cheesecake will be fine.” He passed his now empty wine glass to the waiter as he added. “And some espresso would be lovely.” “Very good, sir.” The man smiled politely before making his way back into the kitchen. When they were alone again, Brian began to giggle to himself. “Did I ever tell you? Back in high school after you and Kyle had that little tiff in the hallway?” Jacob groaned slightly. “That part I’d rather forget but go on.” “He was being such a goon those first few weeks after that.” Brian giggled even more remembering. “Every time I looked over at him in class, he was staring at you with this puppy dog look on his face. And, oh man, he got lippy with us if we said anything. Andy and I used to tease him, and it would just piss him off even more and we loved it. Used to talk about it when we were alone. It was a relief when he finally fessed up.” Jacob chuckled. “We were so young and stupid. Too afraid to say what we felt. Our senior year could’ve been a lot better if we’d tried.” “Can’t change the past, dear,” Brian reminded him. “Just be glad you’re not sitting around a trailer drinking yourself to death like your dad did.” Jacob nodded as a thoughtful look filled his eyes. “Yeah.” The moment was broken as the waiter returned with their cheesecakes and coffee. Brian thanked him and asked for the bill before he departed again. “Eat up. This stuff is fabulous.” “Just like the last four times we were here,” Jacob quipped before putting his fork in the dessert. “Well, I figured this was a nice way to celebrate for you.” Brian took his first bite and smiled as the creamy texture hit his tongue. “I have to admit, I still look forward to this part.” Jacob smirked but said nothing as he sipped his espresso. They were mostly quiet as they finished their meal. When they got to the last few bites, Jacob caught Brian’s attention. “I don’t suppose there’s a way I can pay for it this time?” Brian grinned and shook his head. “Nope. You earned it.” Jacob sighed and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. I’m a good boy.” Brian giggled as they finished up. He put his card in with the check and signaled the waiter who promptly took it away. “So, you never said what you guys plan to do with the orchard with David being away.” “We’ll manage it on our own,” he replied. “David did it on his own for decades. Doesn’t seem like we couldn’t do it ourselves. I know what’s needed and Kyle can handle the paperwork. Eventually we’ll get Matt involved and then Aaron when they’re old enough. Maybe even conscript Tanner and Chase.” Brian shook his head with a smile. “Got it all planned out, huh?” “We’ll be fine,” Jacob assured him. “One thing Kyle and I are united on is that we will keep the orchard going the rest of our lives. It’s a part of us.” “I didn’t doubt that part,” Brian said. “I figured with you two having your own goals; you with your wanting to expand into a new place and Kyle getting a law practice slowly started, you might just hire out.” Jacob shrugged. “Maybe in the long-term future we might. But I don’t see that happening any time soon.” Brian nodded. “You know Bill Martin is still giving kids in his science class extra credit for volunteering at the orchard every season?” Jacob nodded and smiled. “He was such a hard-ass in class but he’s so different out there. Last couple years he’s made a point to come talk to me. I have a picture of him holding Aaron from last year.” Brian grinned. “Oh, I know. He was talking about it not long after. You know he had a son once? Like before we were in high school?” “Really?” Brian nodded. “One of the older staff members in the office confided in me. He used to be a totally different guy back then.” “What happened to his son?” Brian’s face fell slightly in remorse. “Leukemia. He was thirteen.” Jacob’s mouth dropped slightly in astonishment. “Oh my God.” “Yeah, and I guess him and his wife couldn’t have any more kids so…” “I had no idea!” As he absorbed the information his thoughts went to what might happen if the same thing happened to one of his boys. But he didn’t want to dwell on it too much because he knew there would be no way he could go through that without a deep scar on his heart. In the last few years, Matt and Aaron had become his world. Watching them grow and learn, especially in the last few months. He put the idea away, hoping that there would never be a day he may have to face such a thing. “I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I see him.” “Do that, but don’t say anything. He’s a hard-ass with students but only because he cares, and I think some of them remind him of what he lost.” Brian forced a smile back on his face to banish the sudden change of mood. “Anyway, enough of that. Tonight is all about you.” Jacob smirked. “Yeah?” “Yes,” he said with a nod. “You should make Kyle put out for you tonight.” Jacob laughed. “Yeah. Let me get right on that.” The waiter returned with the bill for Brian to sign. Once that was completed, the two of them finished their drinks and got up to leave. After they were outside with the sun swiftly fading, Jacob put his arm around Brian’s. “Allow me to escort you to your car.” “Did you park at the parking deck like usual?” Jacob nodded and Brian smirked. “Then we’re both headed in the same direction.” “Good.” They walked in silence for a block before Brian said anything. “I have two questions for you about tonight, if you don’t mind.” Jacob smiled without breaking his stride. “Go ahead.” “The first question being, why don’t you tell the others about this anniversary?” Jacob sighed. “To be honest I think Andy and Troy don’t remember. Kyle wasn’t around five years ago so would have no idea.” “But you could tell him.” “Yeah, I could,” He conceded. “A big part of it is that I like that you and I get this all to ourselves. But the real reason is because it scares me a little.” Brian frowned slightly, not understanding. “Scares you? Why?” “This is going to sound stupid,” he began in a softer tone. “I’m scared that if I start to make a big deal out of it, then that’s when I’ll have a relapse.” He could see the expression on Brian’s face out of the corner of his eye and continued. “Before you deny it, I’ll just say that you’re probably right. But I hate making a big deal out of it because I don’t want Kyle or Dad making a huge deal out of it in case the day comes when I don’t have this anniversary anymore.” “Because you don’t want to disappoint them,” Brian said softly. Jacob nodded slightly. “That was your first question, what’s your second one?” “Earlier, when we were eating, you kind of zoned out for a moment and you were staring at the wine glass. You do that and usually you instantly look away like a kid getting caught in the act. Tonight, you smiled and didn’t really act like you were looking at it. What was going through your head then?” Jacob smiled a little brighter and simply said, “Da-Da.” “Huh?” Jacob chuckled. “See, that’s what you missed out on as far as having kids. A couple days ago Aaron finally said it.” Brian gave him an odd look. “He said what?” Jacob stopped and turned to look down into Brian’s eyes. “He said ‘Da-Da.’ To me. He…” Jacob felt a catch in his throat reliving the moment. “He called me that. It was the most amazing moment of my life.” A smile began to form as Brian watched the deepening love for his son play out in his eyes. “Aww. I’m so happy for you.” He gently rubbed Brian’s arms as he continued. “When I saw the glass, I thought of Aaron and how, if I hadn’t stopped myself five years ago, he might not be here. And that hearing him say that, and the smile on his face as he said it to me was better than any feeling any drink ever gave me.” Sliding his hand into Jacob’s, Brian coaxed them into walking again. “That sounds about right. I really am happy for you, Jacob. I think about where things were before I staged that intervention and found a good therapist to help you stay clean those first few years, and I realize maybe part of it was me being a little selfish.” “Selfish?” “Only just a little. I wanted my friend back. I wanted to do something to see you stop killing yourself. I didn’t want to think of you losing your fight.” Jacob smiled a little. Touched by his friend’s words. “I really appreciate that. And I know it wasn’t easy those first few months. I wasn’t the best friend to you.” “It was worth it.” The two of them walked in companionable silence until they reached Brian’s car. They stopped and gazed into the others’ eyes. “Thank you for the dinner.” Jacob leaned his head down and tenderly kissed Brian’s forehead. “Happy Fifth Anniversary.” Brian leaned up and kissed Jacob’s cheek, smiling at seeing the man he has become after a long and difficult road. “I’ll call Andy tomorrow and set up a weekend for the boys to come stay over.” “Okay,” he replied with a nod. Brian released him and opened his car door. “Be careful going home.” “You do the same.” They gave each other a final wave before Jacob walked off towards his truck. He smiled to himself as he made his way, looking forward to returning home to his family.
  9. Jdonley75

    Chapter 25

    That's exactly what it was. "Please don't make me choose between you because you'll lose." Years ago Jacob wouldn't have known what to do.
  10. Jdonley75

    Letting Go

    Just remember to keep some tissue nearby towards the end and you should be set.
  11. Jdonley75

    Letting Go

    I think Andy saw it as a way to thank and reward Tyler for the help he gave him when he was going through probably the worst moments of his life. I also think it was his way of letting Tyler know that he was part of their family without saying it. Kyle, Troy and the others were probably totally supportive of Andy's choice because that's what they do. If you read the moment back in Chapter 39, you can probably read between the lines to fully understand it.
  12. Jdonley75

    Chapter 13

    Why would I do that? I want people to enjoy the story! One thing I (sadistically) enjoy is how many other small little tidbits get ran right over that will eventually come into play later on. I played this game with my sister and it drove her crazy. "Hey, if you read it carefully, you'll notice where [redacted] lied to [redacted]?"
  13. Jdonley75

    Chapter 11

    See? There were clues all over the place and no one noticed. 😆
  14. Jdonley75

    Chapter 30

    An.... interesting take on therapy. 😄 This is by far not the lowest point for Andy yet. He has a very long road to walk before he can get back to something close to normal.
  15. Jdonley75

    Letting Go

    I'm almost sure at some point Colt and his kids will enter the narrative. How that happens is yet to be determined.
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